TIP 5 Projects

TIP-5: Telerehabilitation to support International Rehabilitation Service Learning (IRSL)


Alan Chong W. Lee, PT, DPT, CWS, GCS; Mount St. Mary’s College (MSMC), Los Angeles, CA. and Global Health Rehabilitation Cooperative Center (GHRCC)


An international service learning program has been offered to students of various physical therapy programs in Southern California (Los Angeles and San Diego) partnering with Hospital Infantil de las Californias in Mexico (Lee'09). A Global Health Rehabilitation Cooperative Center (GHRCC) is being developed among various stakeholders involved with Hospital Infantil de las Californias. The goals of the Center are addressing global health disparity in patients with rehabilitation needs across the border and allowing students, faculty, and staff to engage in international service learning. Currently, educational institutions involved in this cooperative include Mount St. Mary’s College (Los Angeles), University of St. Augustine (San Diego campus), and San Diego State University (SDSU). Overall, the program has served over 100 patients and families, and it continues to grow with public interest and support in Mexico. Despite its progress, this program faces potential threats to its sustainability due to the recent H1N1 flu scare and the escalating death toll from Mexican drug cartel wars.

The sustainability of this effort can be enhanced by the use of a TR consultation using VISYTER and the TR portal. A pilot program on TR using modest technology has been conducted between Jornada Clinic at the Hospital Infantil de las Californias in Mexico and Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles. Through the TR consultation session, the expert pediatric-certified specialist in Los Angeles provided a clinical assessment and recommendation to the treating physiotherapist in Mexico after a review of the patient history, interview, examination, and observational gait analysis of the patient in real-time. This pilot program has been successful with high satisfaction among the patient, parent, and the clinical team.


Project Update


Currently, the project continues its pilot case study involving 3 pediatric patients (mean age of 5) who participated in telerehabilitation session between Tijuana, Mexico and Mount St. Mary's College, United States. Most of the project's effort this year was focused on refining the model of telerehabilitation between Mount St. Mary's College and Tijuana, Mexico, for example: finding the acceptable quality of videoconferencing that allows therapist to assist assessment remotely through a low bandwidth with a low specification equipment setting and testing the possibility of connecting three sites for a remote collaboration session (2 therapists from home in US and 1 therapist from the hospital in Mexico).
One of the products from this effort is a completed survey on patient satisfaction for using VISYTER in Spanish language. The survey was translated by a linguist fluent at Mount St. Mary's College, and was administered after a teleconsultation session. The first survey was administered on December 11, 2010.
The teleconsultation session was beneficial in connecting therapists across the border, especially due to the increased security risk from the Mexico drug wars. Dr. Lee mentioned that the project will allow volunteers to travel to Mexico again starting this summer once the border 'cools down'.
Dr. Alan Lee also presented a report on the telerehabilitation effort at the Federation State Board Annual Conference on October 16, 2010, which was well received.



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